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By: Rhonda Clark
Sr. Employment Services Coordinator, Medserv
Dedicated 20+ year Employment Professional at Medserv




Why Employers are Asking Medical Assistants to Receive National Certification

Patients and providers depend on medical assistants to provide quality patient care while following proper protocols to maintain patient safety. Quite often the medical assistant is vital in ensuring patient-provider interactions go smoothly and effectively.

Healthcare is an exciting and challenging career. Technological advances and medical breakthroughs require all healthcare professionals to stay on top of current treatment plans and local/federal regulations. These technologies and regulations directly impact the role of the medical assistant.

Electronic Health Records (EHR)

EHR has significantly changed the way medical facilities document patient interactions. Medical records can easily be transferred between facilities; and, the tedious task of trying to decipher a provider’s handwriting, or personal shorthand, has been eliminated. Many providers rely on the medical assistant to assist with entering patient information into the EHR.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

EHR has become an essential tool for facilities to adhere to HIPAA and ACA (sometimes referred to as “Obamacare”) guidelines. Knowing that a tool is only as effective as the skill of the person using it, federal guidelines have been established to measure if facilities are using EHR effectively. These guidelines are referred to as “Meaningful Use.”

Meaningful Use (MU)

For a small healthcare facility, such as a private physician’s office, a basic EHR system costs $50,000.00. Plus, facilities are required to pay additional licensing and training fees.

A facility can receive incentives to help cover a significant portion of the costs related to implementing EHR if the facility meets MU guidelines. Facilities not meeting MU guidelines may be subject to substantial penalties.

Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE)

CPOE refers to entering of medical orders, treatment plans, and patient instructions into the EHR. Under MU, a “credentialed” person must perform CPOE. Medical assistants are considered credentialed if they are certified through an approved national certification entity.

Please note:   Do not confuse certification through a school with nationally recognized certification. While a school may assist with registering graduates for tests and proctoring exams, the school itself is not the certifying entity.

How To Become Credentialed

There are multiple options available for medical assistants to receive certification. The Harris County Medical Society created an easy-to-follow guide which lists many of these options. The guide includes direct links to the certifying entities’ websites which will provide details regarding costs and requirements.

Click here:

Medical Assistants Certification/Recognition Pathways to Assist With CPOE

Medical Assistant – the future

The future of the certified medical assistant is bright. Medical assistants are the only clinically-skilled professionals specifically trained to work alongside providers in an outpatient setting. Due to advancements in medicine many services that were once only available in a hospital are now routinely handled in an outpatient facility. Today, medical facilities are giving preference to hiring certified medical assistants. Keeping up with current trends is essential. Obtaining certification shows commitment to, and pride in, the medical assisting profession.


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